In response to the recent executive order on immigration, Cornell faculty, staff and students will gather on the Arts Quad tomorrow to demand explicit action plan providing sanctuary protection to marginalized students from the University.
Prof. Russell Rickford, history, organized the event with the Cornell Coalition for Inclusive Democracy.
“[We] hope to underscore the need for the University to take concrete steps to protect the safety, security, privacy and dignity of some of the most vulnerable members of our community,” Rickford said.
Their demands from the University include establishing an alternative source of funding for students with and without Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, strengthening the Cornell police department’s commitment to nondisclosure, providing housing for vulnerable students, hosting international scholars fleeing dangerous countries and lobbying in Albany and Washington D.C.
“[These measures] draw on the best aspects of Cornell and Ithaca’s abolitionist and sanctuary traditions,” Rickford said. “Cornell has a duty to create an atmosphere of dignity, human rights and academic freedom.”
Despite Interim President Hunter Rawlings’ earlier statement to the Cornell community that addressed most of these measures, Rickford explained that the administration is not doing as much as it should.
“Cornell continues to lag behind scores of universities and colleges across the country who have taken much more robust steps to protect targeted and potentially targeted members of their communities,” he said.
Rickford also rejected the idea that protesting on campus is detrimental to education.
“Taking a stand on the protection of human rights helps place the discourse of justice at the center of university life,” he said. “And justice — not professionalization — is what education is ultimately about.”
Rickford hopes that a “public demonstration [will] display the power of dissent” and force the University to create a specific plan.
“We say ‘any person, any study,’” he said. “Now is the time to prove it.”